Notre Dame’s QB situation and other things to know
Just three games into the Colonial League high school football season and just one unbeaten remains — Southern Lehigh.
The Spartans set themselves apart with an impressive 62-27 win over Notre Dame Friday night at Quakertown.
While much of the Southern Lehigh news in the season’s first month has been about the team’s unplayable field and how it led to four consecutive road games to start the season, the bottom line is the Spartans have built a very good team that can play well on any field.
Here’s a look at how Week 4 shapes up:
3 things to know
1. Saucon Valley and Salisbury are playing the league’s third Thursday night game of the season to kick off the weekend. It’s a good matchup, too, with both teams 2-1. Falcons coach Andy Cerco, whose team played at Northwestern on the Thursday night before Labor Day, said the Thursday night games give the teams involved a chance to get more exposure since they’re not in the Friday night mix when a majority of games are played.
2. Notre Dame used four quarterbacks in its loss to Southern Lehigh with two of the four going down with injuries and will likely continue to use multiple QBs.
Crusaders coach Phil Stambaugh said that sophomore Collin Quintano, who played so well in the first two weeks suffered a major injury and will be out for a significant period of time. “There’s a possibility he’ll be out the rest of the season and there’s a possibility he’ll only miss a couple of weeks,” Stambaugh said. “Right now we’re going to use [Andrew] Darno at quarterback and then a combination of the other guys, depending on who’s healthy.”
Darno was 6-for-10 passing for 84 yards and a touchdown against Southern Lehigh.
He is also one of the area’s best receivers with 20 catches for 277 yards and four scores.
“Andrew was a quarterback in middle school and as a JV,” Stambaugh said. “The only reason he didn’t play here was because we had Cole DeFranco. He was the backup quarterback last year and entered this season as the backup. He’s an athlete and knows the offense. I feel comfortable putting him in there. He ran the offense in the offseason while Collin was playing baseball.”
While losing Darno as a receiver is not a plus, Stambaugh said the receivers are the deepest part of the roster and he expects several players to step up and fill the void created by Darno going to QB.
3. In the latest Pennlive.com state rankings, Northwestern Lehigh is listed at No. 9 in 4A (Bethlehem Catholic is No. 4). Southern Lehigh and Notre Dame are rated as “teams to watch” in 5A and 3A respectively. Imhotep Charter, the perennial Philadelphia Public League program that has dominated local teams in states in the past several seasons, is 0-3 and not ranked in 4A.
Player to watch
Southern Lehigh senior Cam Fisher was one of several Spartans to have a big night against Notre Dame. Fisher had eight carries for 130 yards rushing and two touchdowns. He also caught a pass for 23 yards for a TD and had a 40-yard punt return to set up a Spartans TD.
On defense, the three-year starter and captain had four tackles and broke up a pass.
“Cam’s been waiting his turn on offense,” Southern Lehigh coach John Toman said. “He’s an incredibly hard worker and an amazing teammate. He’s our speed guy on offense and always found a way to put in the extra time in the weight room during the offseason. All around, he’s a great player to coach.”
6 matchups to dissect THURSDAY NIGHT
Salisbury at Saucon Valley: The Panthers are fourth in the league in both offense and defense. As has been the case in recent years, the offense is tilted heavily toward the run game with the passing attack averaging just over 50 yards a game. Damian Garcia and Chris Mann power the Saucon ground attack with 9.9 and 12.3 yards per carry. Salisbury quarterbacks have thrown the ball 71 times for seven TDs and no interceptions. Saucon won last year, 41-27, and has won seven in a row in the series.
Palisades at Catasauqua: Someone will feel good for the first time when this one’s over. The Pirates have managed just 163.7 yards and little more than seven points per game and the Roughies are last in the league at 86 ypg with just 32 points all season. Palisades won 55-22 last year.
Palmerton at Notre Dame: Blue Bombers coach Chris Walkowiak doesn’t like to list a position for senior Jordan Nelson. He prefers to move him around and the stats reflect Nelson’s versatility with 56 receiving yards, 110 passing yards and 109 rushing yards. Notre Dame, meanwhile, has a multitude of playmakers. Christian Greggo and Matt Frauen Jr., both have over 400 all-purpose yards in three games. Notre Dame won last year’s game 35-20 and has won four straight in a series it leads 24-18-2.
Southern Lehigh at Bangor: The Spartans will try to avoid a letdown after one of the program’s best performances in several seasons. Southern Lehigh averages 328 yards rushing and five rushing touchdowns per game. The Spartans had more yards rushing last week (451) than seven Colonial League members, including Bangor, have all season. The Slaters won last year’s game 28-20 and lead the all-time series 23-21.
Northern Lehigh at Pen Argyl: The Green Knights’ single-wing offense has produced 420 yards rushing in three weeks, but just 63 passing, the lowest total in the league. Pen Argyl’s defense, directed by longtime Easton defensive coordinator Doug Powell, is second in the league in yards allowed, giving up 216.7 ypg. Northern Lehigh leads the league in defense, allowing just 191 ypg. Northern Lehigh won last year’s game 14-3 and leads the all-time series 14-11.
Northwestern Lehigh at Wilson: The Tigers have four players with six receptions or more led by Justin Rodda, who has 11 catches for 174 yards and four touchdowns. Northwestern Lehigh standout Deven Bollinger has 788 all-purpose yards, including 555 passing. Wilson’s three games have been decided by a total of 10 points. The Tigers won last year’s game 31-14 and have won eight straight in a series they lead 16-10.
Notre Dame-Green Pond quarterback Collin Quintano looks for an open receiver against Southern Lehigh last Friday at Quakertown High School.